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Five new restaurants to try in the D.C. area

Tupelo Honey Cafe serves late-night brunch. (photo by Mike Belleme)
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The season brings a slew of new restaurants to the D.C. area. Which will you choose?

Tupelo Honey Cafe
1616 N. Troy St., Arlington; 703-253-8140,

Late-night brunch with meatloaf tacos and biscuit sliders. Giant 20-ounce bloody marys made with jalapeno-infused moonshine. Something called “grits poppers.” Should we keep going, or do you have enough reasons to check out this new Southern bistro? The mini-chain restaurant is an export from Asheville, N.C., where it opened 15 years ago. The Arlington outpost is the first location to open outside of Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, and there’s another one heading to Virginia Beach shortly.

2985 District Ave., Fairfax; 703-280-1000,

This Mosaic District restaurant is a collaboration between Travis Croxton (co-owner of Rappahannock Oyster Co.) and chef John Critchley (formerly the executive chef of Bourbon Steak). Translation: Expect lots of bivalves and wood-grilled meats and seafood served alongside vegetables sourced within the Mid-Atlantic. Dishes include beef tartare served with horseradish and vegetable ash as well as baked oysters with nettles, herbs and breadcrumbs.

Named after the capital of Turkey, this family-owned restaurant serves kabobs and hot and cold mezze dishes out of the space in Dupont Circle that formerly held Levante’s. The menu is overseen by chef Jorge Chicas, formerly of Zaytinya, but don’t expect to see many menu repeats: Ankara prides itself on serving contemporary takes on Turkish classics. Take the lamb burger for example, which is actually lamb kofte (meatballs spiced with cumin) shaped into a burger. Influences from the Mediterranean, Persia and the Far East also abound.

974 Palmer Alley NW; 202-898-2426,

Chef Amy Brandwein’s just-opened Italian joint at CityCenterDC is made up of two components: a small grocery full of imported Italian goods, wine and beer, local produce and grab-and-go sauces made in-house, as well as a spacious osteria where seasonal Italian dishes are served. Some good news for the indecisive — Brandwein’s rotating menu hovers around 15 items max (plus sides), including wood-fired meats and lightly seasoned vegetables, so you won’t be overwhelmed with options.

Vegans may want to sit this one out. From veterans of Carmine’s and Hill Country Barbecue comes this 16,000-square-foot combination BBQ restaurant, marketplace and music venue. Dry rubbed meats — which are priced by weight — include brisket, pulled pork and short rib, which get pit smoked for up to 15 hours in ovens that can hold up to 2,500 pounds of carnage. Sundays bring a Southern-inspired brunch buffet with items like biscuit French toast, bacon sticky buns and a Thanksgiving casserole.

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